Hemmingway Wall is the only Grotto Canyon crag that receives morning sun. Hemmingway features 32 routes of which only 2 require gear.
All the routes are single pitch and can be rappelled with one 60 meter rope. Hemingway Wall is broken up into three sections, a left, right and center. The left side features the more difficult routes, mostly 5.11-5.12, and the right side features some of the most moderate routes of the entire canyon, mostly 5.9-5.10.
Hemmingway Wall is the first climbing wall on the left as you start winding your way through Grotto Canyon. From where you parked, trek north up hill to the mouth of Grotto Canyon. Enter the canyon by following the creek bed as it winds into the steep walls. The trail moves back and forth from each bank. Hemingway is buffered on the left by a swatch of mature trees. A myriad of short trails meander in and about allowing you to clearly scope out the wall. The left side is quite a bit taller. The right side features quite a bit shorter routes, but has a few full rope length routes to the far right. The left is separated from the center by an obvious corner, that itself can be climbed with gear (Little Canadian Corner, 5.8), but is extremely polished.
I have climbed most all of the routes on the center and right side, some good, some awful. Hemmingway, due to how quick it is to get to, appears to be the most popular crag in Grotto Canyon (definitely not the best)
and therefore no doubt the worst polished. I have been in Grotto Canyon when few if any other climbers were present, but if they are, I always see them here first.
Routes Left to Right
Hemingway Wall Left
The Importance of Being Ernest- 5.12a
Death in the Afternoon- 5.12a
Cracked Rhythm- 5.12b/c
Chips Are For Kids- 5.11b
Farewell to Arms- 5.11a
Success Pool- 5.12a
Walk on the Wild Side- 5.11c
Stone Age Romeos- 5.11d
Hemingway Wall Center
Grey Matter- 5.11a
Grand Larceny- 5.10c/d
Petty Theft- 5.10d
Falling from Heaven- 5.9/
4 bolts past a roof to anchor (recommend)
Little Canadian Corner- 5.8/
Easy, but polished corner; gear to 3” to Falling from Heaven anchor
Lively Up Yourself- 5.10c
Flake Line- 5.6/ A beginner lead, but a little loose
Footloose- 5.11a (Runout)
Run of the River- 5.10b
Walk the Line- 5.9/
short 3 bolts to anchor that is shared with Cakewalk (recommend)
Hemingway Wall Right
short 2 bolts to anchor that is shared with Walk the Line (recommend)
Oh No Not Another- 5.9/ (Runout)
Yet Another- 5.7
seems easy for a 10a; 5 bolts over mini roof features to anchor (recommend)
one tough and bare move from Layla; only 2nd bolt is different (recommend)
Siren Song- 5.11a
The longer routes to the far right make for good starters for the day; 6 bolts to anchor shared with Scheherazade, track left side of small corner (recommend)
6 bolts to anchor on the right side of mid corner feature; shared anchor with Nymphet (recommend)
5 bolts to anchor over roof at the end; last route on Hemmingway Wall (recommend)
The routes on Hemingway Wall only require a single 60 meter rope for rappels. If you are not going deeper into Grotto Canyon, there is little use for trad gear. The few trad routes throughout the first section are not worth it.
The rock is pretty solid throughout Grotto relative to the Canadian Rockies, but of course a helmet is always advisable. Sport Climbs in the Canadian Rockies is the book you need. You might get by without it if Dr. Topo
has everything you need in terms of which routes you want to do. As of 2006, Dr. Topo did not have the better routes farther into Grotto Canyon.
- Canadian Alpine Accident Reports are also extremely helpful and feature no less than 5 accident reports (2006) regarding Grotto Canyon.
Kananaskis Provincial Park